The leadership capital framework can benefit leaders of all levels, as I’ve discovered by sharing it in many contexts, including current and aspiring directors
I’ve identified the “5 C’s” that can be applied directly to the board governance journey, not only in the sphere of public companies but also across the landscape of nonprofits, social enterprises, and small organizations:
Your superpower is not tied to titles or specific accolades. It is that unique thing—such as your ability to listen, to bring folks together, to synthesize ideas, or to analyze large amounts of data—that you bring to every situation without thinking or working hard at it.
Knowing your superpower and leaning into it in the context of board governance allows you to hold a special seat, make a unique contribution, and be more effective as a director.
Why is diversity in the boardroom important? Culture—the worldview and values that allow you to see problems, opportunities, and situations differently than everybody else—is one important aspect.
In a truly culturally diverse boardroom, discussing problems and opportunities benefits from a healthy debate driven by varying experiences and views, allowing the group to see the matter from different angles.
As a director, your viewpoint expands as part of the conversation, and your culture allows you to expand the viewpoint of others in turn.
Sharing your story about why you want to be in the boardroom and what unique value you have to offer is a central step of the governance journey. Whether it’s the written form of your resume and bio or verbal conversations with network connections and interviewers, communication enables the people facilitating your board journey to understand why you would be a welcome voice inside the boardroom.
Most board opportunities, I find, grow from seeds that you’ve sown earlier by investing in relationships to help other folks. Leveraging your superpower and unique skills to create value for those you’re connected with paves the way for you to play a similar role at the board governance level. Showing that you bring value in other contexts makes others want you to be part of their advising network in the boardroom.
If the treasure you’re seeking is in the boardroom, what fear is holding you back? What steps can you take to tiptoe into the cave where your treasure is? If you lack experience, you can start to make some progress by acquiring knowledge, credentials, and contacts through organizations like the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Once you’re in the boardroom, remember to inhabit the position and display the superpower and culture that got you in the room in the first place. That is how you provide value, and your confidence will grow with the wins you accumulate as you continue your board governance journey.